There is Nothing Spiritual About the “Playing Small” Game

By Juliet Tang

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Are you playing small?

The “playing small” game is a common game people play in the spiritual community and in the world at large. It looks something like this:

“In order for me to be (seen, considered, appreciated as, respected as, known as) spiritual, I must dim my light, downplay my talents and gifts, hide my essence, seek external validation, compare myself to those who seem more successful, overgive, overwork and undercharge, etc.

The problem is, there is nothing spiritual about the “playing small” game, and the payoff is anything but rewarding.

First, I’d like to define the meaning of “spiritual” within the context of this article. In the absolute reality, everything and anything is spiritual as it is a manifested facet of Universal Consciousness that is Oneness which means, there is simply nothing “unspiritual.” For the purpose of this article, I’ll use the word “spiritual” to define the idea of striving to be more conscious, more connected, and being of service for humanity and for the greater good.

What The Game Looks Like

Whether you have been playing small, or have witnessed others experience it, it is a familiar one to many.

As a mentor for light leaders and spiritual warriors, I see it everyday when I work with those who are incredibly gifted, are committed to their soul missions, and have so much brilliance and potent medicine to contribute to humanity, but are shrinking from shining their bright light and sharing their truth and leadership with the world because they feel they are not enough.

It can also look like spiritual entrepreneurs struggling to create abundance due to a very common internal conflict called “spirituality and money don’t mix” which is a popular aspect of this game. Just to clarify, the creation of abundance or anything in life is not a necessity for all, so it boils down to what the individual’s true preference and intention is.

In the beginning, playing small may create a sense of belonging or community that makes you feel like you are following something sacred and humble, and you are supported by a tribe of others who share the same tribal codes.

Slowly, your life circumstances start to alert you on the misalignment, that is, you begin to experience unfulfillment, lack, limitations, and increased judgment in different areas in life whether it is love, career, finances, or spiritual growth.

For as long as you stay within the tribe, whether it is a physical tribe of people who unconsciously support you playing small, or a mental tribe consisting of disempowering programming that reinforces what you feel to be true, it is difficult to impossible to see the truth until you break out of that level of consciousness.

Why the Game Exists

A few factors go into the creation and reinforcement of this game. For one, the unconscious programming of low self-worth is one of the most stubborn and deep-seated programmings that almost each person on earth has inherited, and our choice-making ability is significantly limited by this until we become conscious enough to liberate ourselves from it, and reprogram our entire mindset as well as energetic blueprint.

Another factor has to do with several mainstream religious and spiritual traditions that praise choices based on celibacy, poverty, sacrifice, suffering, humility, and martyrdom. Even in the plant medicine community which is where my integration coaching takes place, there is often the belief that the more people suffer during an ayahuasca ceremony, the more healing they receive which is not necessarily the case, or not the case at all.

I want to be clear that the “playing small” game is not bad, and there is no need to judge those who are playing it. In fact, nothing is inherently good or bad because nothing has any meaning save for the meaning we give it.

Here is the highest truth: part of the fun as a God/Goddess in a human body is to experience the full spectrum of duality in this life; and duality, in simple terms means the experience of contrast. The beauty of living as a conscious being is that once you experience the contrast, or the lack thereof, it allows you to decide what you truly prefer to experience which creates a desire, and desire leads to the creation of more life. This is the very purpose of experiencing any contrast in life – it reminds us of our power to choose.

Is It Time to Play a Different Game?

Some, in this lifetime, choose the path of celibacy, modesty, and sacrifice. Without knowing anyone’s life mission which is an intricate and complex web of experiences, co-creations and soul contracts with the self, others, and the world, it is wise for all of us to never judge based on the appearances of things. There is no right or wrong way to live, there is only what works for you.

However, if you are currently playing small in the name of being “more spiritual,” and are not having the fun of your life, or are resenting it without having the clarity to shift to a more expansive game, I am inviting you to do some deep soul digging right here, right now by allowing the following statements to sink in:

  1. You are a unique expression of Source because you and Source are one and the same. You are intrinsically, and unconditionally loved, worthy, and deserving.
  2. Source, Spirit, God, Life Force Energy, Universal Consciousness, Divine, Formless Creative Substance, The Quantum Field, etc., whatever you label it, the very nature of this living substance is to create more life and to seek fuller expression. You are That which means you are here to create more life and fully self-express in the form of experiences; abundance can be one of them, contribution to humanity with your voice and talents can be another.
  3. When there is an un-manifested possibility within, it shows up as a soul-felt urge within you. Hence, your deepest yearnings came from Source. By fulfilling them through you, Source experiences another aspect of Itself which simultaneously gives rise to a sense of deep gratitude and fulfillment within you.
  4. You came to earth with specific gifts and visions that are only unique to you. By not giving yourself permission to express or create them, you are doing yourself and the world a disservice.
  5. What makes you joyous and fulfilled is what makes Source joyous and fulfilled. Therefore, whatever choices you make, do it for your highest good because that is also for the highest good of all.
  6. Saying no to playing small is not equivalent to being arrogant, both are coming from the ego programming of low self-worth. It simply means for you to stand in your full self-expression, power, glory and leadership, and saying yes to what makes your heart sing. Dimming your light to make others more comfortable is not the way of a divine leader and creator.
  7. You get to play any game you wish, not the games you’ve inherited from your parents, childhood teachings, influencers, religious or cultural groups. You have the ultimate power to choose.
  8. You are the Creator, or Creatrix of this big game of life which means you have 100% power to create any experience you desire. The first step is to give yourself permission to create these experiences.
  9. When you liberate yourself, you liberate all those around you.

Dear light leader, you are whole, complete, perfect, eternal, infinite, magnificent, abundant and powerful just as you are, and within you is the universal force that is here to inspire you to go beyond every limitation in your life right now so you can rise to your greatness.
Is it time for you to shine?

If you cannot wait to harness the power of every creation tool you are born with (there are five) to construct a new reality that honors your choice, desires, and visions, I invite you to download my free “Creator Toolbox” here.

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About the author:

Juliet Tang is a plant medicine integration mentor and conscious leadership guide. She supports awakened entrepreneurs and soulful individuals who are seeking expert guidance in plant medicine integration as well as soul expansion to embody higher consciousness, and manifest their grandest visions in life. Her unique brilliance is evoking the playful Divinity within. Juliet takes a powerful stand for expanding consciousness, and living your highest truth.

Her 1:1 mentoring program can be found here.

You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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